Windows 7 installation woes may have given some users fits, but the vast majority polled by Technologizer gave the operating system glowing marks. According to the survey, 84 percent said the installation went "extremely smoothly," a remarkable figure considering the results of a 2002 PC World poll where half of those upgrading to the then-new XP admitted having problems.
The reaction to Windows 7's installation caught McCracken by surprise. "I tend to be gloomy about what's going to happen with a new OS," he said, "which is one reason I recommend that people wait to upgrade." He attributed part of the smooth upgrade to the fact that 82 percent did a so-called clean install of Windows 7 -- which requires users to reinstall applications -- rather than a more-problematic "in-place" upgrade from Vista.
Mac owners and users, however, gave Windows 7 mixed reviews when asked to pit Microsoft's newest operating system against Apple's Snow Leopard. About a third thought Windows 7 was better than Mac OS X 10.6, a third thought the two were neck-and-neck, and a third gave the nod to Snow Leopard.
Microsoft might not want to crow about those numbers, however, if only because it could remind people of the gaffe made by one of its executives earlier this month when he said Windows 7's goal was to "create a Mac look and feel." Microsoft quickly disowned the official's comment, saying it was "uninformed" and "inaccurate."
Other indicators have recently pointed to Windows 7's success. According to Web metrics firm Net Applications, in its first three weeks after launch, Windows 7's usage share outpaced what Vista had acquired after five months.
"Windows 7 is off to a good start," said McCracken, addingt that it's too early to tell whether the OS is, in fact, the winner that Vista never became. "Reviewers gave Vista a pretty favorable response, too, but real users had considerable qualms with Vista," he said, adding that the true test for Windows 7 satisfaction will come when mainstream users -- not the experienced users his poll surveyed -- have a chance to weigh in.
The complete results of the poll can be found on McCracken's site.